A woman stepped out. At least, I was pretty sure it was a woman. Her head was nude, save for the strip of bright, blood red hair down the middle of her skull. Her ears were adorned in a myriad of baubling skull earrings, and chains, and the like. I thought for a moment how terribly eighties she looked, clad in ripped jean and leather, but she started looking around the parking lot, and her head started in my direction.
I cursed silently to myself, and flattened my body against the wall.'Don't see me, don't see me, don't see-…"
"Hey, Larry, go check over there! I think I saw something move!" She said, looking back into the bus. An enormous man stepped out, his weight slightly tipping the bus for half a second before his gigantic feet touched asphalt.
"It's probably just a rat, Annabelle, you know that." His voice was strangely cultured, for someone so huge, and exotic-looking. He wasn't necessarily fat, just… large. He was dressed very much like her, except the shock of hair on his head was a neon, cookie-monster blue.
"Well, still! You never know, Layrz…" She said 'Layrz' like the first half of 'Larry', except with a z in the middle.
Tilt wiggled next to me, and patted his side softly. 'Please be still, friend, I really don't want them to find us.'
"Okay, but you're checking next time, dearie." The big man huffed, flicking away the cigar that had been in his mouth, as he came in my direction.
I panicked for a moment, and stood, though hunched, and led Tilt with me to the back of the building. I hid us behind the air conditioning unit, which wasn't on, of course, and hoped he wouldnt bother coming the entire way around. I was small enough and Tilt long enough, that he'd have to peer over the thing to see us.
Several moments passed by, and I held my breath for much of it, my hand around Tilt's muzzle – keeping him from making any sound – as the heavy footsteps grew nearer and nearer. I heard him grunt, and then I thought he walked off.
I let my breath out slowly, a wisp of white cloud, before slowly, slowly, peering out over the air-conditioning unit. I was relieved to find no one. I stepped out from behind it, and beckoned Tilt to follow. He did, as I rounded the corner, but ran into my legs as I ran into something solid in front of me.
The large, blue-haired man was there, grinning down at me.
"Well, well, little rat, where did you come from?" He chuckled heartily, grabbing my shoulders. Tilt growled behind him, ready to spring into action, but a shushed him with a wave of a hand. There was something about him, that hadn't seemed as foreboding and intimidating as the enormous black bus had.
I nevertheless had trouble finding words. "I, well… You see, we were…" I stuttered, feeling uncomfortable in his grasp, and strangely not at the same time.
He smiled at me, and it was genuine, before he chuckled heartily. It was a warm, rich sound, the kind that reminds you of grandfathers, and stories, and fire places.
"It's all right, girl, no hard done." He smiled again, releasing one shoulder, and patting the other, while calling over his shoulder. "Anna! We have a live one!"
I merely blinked at him for a moment, while he started to walk off, beckoning me to follow. Tilt seemed to have had a change of heart, and trotted forward, though he waited for me to move.
I shrugged, and nodding to him, following the big man. Larry, I think his name was.
We approached the bus, which was off at the moment, probably to conserve gas. The woman was leaning against it, watching us approach. She gave me a smile almost as warm as Larry's, and it took away from her punkish appearance. She stuck a gloved hand out to me.
"Annabelle, at your service!" She didn't want for me to give her my hand, she just took it and shook it, vigorously. I gave her a sheepish, unsure smile. One minute, I thought the world had blown up, and the next, there were people again. I think it fried my brain a little, and Anna seemed to notice.
"It's a little overwhelming at first, I know, but we'll fill you in on anything you don't already know." She said.
"Well, that's an awful lot, then…" I replied quietly, figuring for the first time how little I –did- know.
Her smile softened and she nodded, patting me much the way Larry had, before moving to the door of the bus.
"Hey guys, we have a new person!"
…There were more?